Over 30 Years Protecting the Injured
Car Accident Attorney in Peoria, IL
Working to Hold Careless & Reckless Drivers Responsible
Driving has always posed risks—both for occupants of cars and for pedestrians and bicyclists on the road. Accidents at intersections and in heavy traffic are particularly frequent occurrences and, often, these accidents are the direct or indirect result of negligence. Understanding the cause of an accident is important if you wish to pursue compensation for damages, including any injuries sustained in the crash. The experience of an auto accident attorney in Peoria may help make this process easier and less stressful.
At Joel E. Brown, Attorney at Law, we assist clients who have suffered serious car accidents or lost loved ones as a result of another motorist’s careless or reckless behavior. Whether you were hit by another driver who was using a cell phone, driving drunk, or running a red light, our firm can help you understand your legal options and take action against the liable parties.
Why choose Joel E. Brown, Attorney at Law for your Peoria car accident case?
- More than 30 years of legal experience
- One-on-one, personalized attention for each case
- Consistent communication and availability
- Tireless advocacy during all stages of your case
To speak with our Peoria car accident attorney about your case, contact us online or by phone at (309) 271-1118 to request a complimentary consultation. We serve clients throughout Peoria and Tazewell Counties.
Peoria, IL Car Accident Statistics
Auto accidents are a leading cause of preventable death in the United States and are a cause for concern for Peoria County residents. According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, 4,334 crashes were recorded in Peoria in 2017. Of these crashes, 13 resulted in fatalities and 1,154 involved non-fatal injury to one or more passengers. A total of 157 car accident injuries were classified as being incapacitating. Most car accidents occur during the summer months from June to August, with Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays historically having the highest number of accidents.
Other facts about car accidents in Illinois as a whole include:
- On average, three people per day die in car accidents and more than 10 are injured per hour.
- Speeding is cited as a factor in more than 30% of crashes and 33% of fatal crashes.
- Rear-end collisions are the most common, totaling more than 96,000 per year.
- More than 30% of fatal car accidents involve alcohol.
- Roughly 86% of fatal crashes occur on dry roadways.
- Approximately 49% of crashes occur during daylight hours.
Distracted Driving Is a Troublesome Trend—and Often Evidence of Negligence
What dangers lead to car accidents? Every situation is unique, but studies have revealed trends that give strong clues about what to look for during an auto accident investigation. Distracted driving—in particular, texting while driving and other uses of electronic communications while at the wheel—may be the answer in many cases. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in 2018 alone.
In past generations, safety advocates focused on ways to make roads and cars safer. Later, dangerous behaviors such as drunk driving, inattentive driving, and aggression were highlighted in studies about causes of car accidents. In our day, texting while driving has become a significant public safety problem. Cellphones, tablet computers, and GPS devices entice drivers to manual, visual, and cognitive distraction from their most important job of driving with full attention. For this reason, texting while driving is a growing area of litigation.
Other Common Causes of Car Accidents in Peoria, IL
Aside from distracted driving and cell phone use, there are many other causes of auto accidents. In many cases, these factors are a result of negligence.
Some other common causes of car accidents that may be attributed to negligence include:
- Reckless driving
- Drunk driving
- Drowsy driving
- Traffic violations
- Roadway design defects
- Infrastructure defects
- Malfunctioning brakes
- Defective seat belts
- Defective airbags
Whatever the cause, Our Peoria car accident lawyer is equipped to work hard in pursuit of the compensation you need to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Before you discuss your case in detail with investigators or insurance claims adjusters, learn about your rights to compensation.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Peoria, IL
It is common for people involved in car accidents to feel dazed and confused in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident, especially if you have been injured. While you may be shaken up, it is important to keep calm and be mindful of your actions as they can cause you to be liable and impact your ability to recover compensation.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Peoria, be sure to:
- Stop and render aid to all involved parties - never drive away!
- If you are able, move to a safe place to avoid danger from oncoming traffic
- If you or anyone involved seems to be injured, call for medical attention immediately.
- Call the police and report the crash. Inform them of your version of what happened.
- Never admit fault for the collision and avoid making any uncertain or ambiguous statements.
- Take detailed pictures of all vehicle and property damage, the positioning of vehicles, and any injuries.
- Exchange insurance information, license plate numbers, driver's license numbers, and contact information with all involved drivers.
- Get contact information from any witnesses of the crash at the scene.
- Report the crash to your insurance company and avoid making any statements.
- Seek medical attention immediately after the crash, even if you feel fine.
- Contact an attorney to discover your legal options and file a personal injury claim.
Common Injuries in Peoria Car Accidents
The impact of a car accident can expose a person to an immense amount of force and cause injury to virtually every part of the body. While injuries such as cuts and broken bones may be obvious, others may have delayed symptoms which can go unnoticed for days or even weeks after a crash. It is important to seek medical care as soon as possible after a crash to not only protect your health but also to establish a record of your injuries which can be crucial in your pursuit of compensation.
Injuries commonly suffered in car accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
- Herniated disks
- Dental injuries
- Organ damage
Not all car accident injuries are physical. Many car accident victims suffer from mental and emotional injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which can cause them to relive the trauma of the collision, especially if a loved one was killed. An attorney can help you seek full and fair compensation from the responsible driver for these injuries.
Illinois Car Insurance Laws and Minimums
Illinois is an at-fault state, meaning that the driver who caused an accident (or more accurately, their insurance company) will be financially responsible for paying for the resulting damages.
All drivers in Illinois must purchase and maintain the following minimum insurance coverage:
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident bodily injury coverage
- $20,000 property damage coverage
Liability coverage pays for damages suffered by others in the event of a crash caused by the insured driver, such as medical treatments and vehicle repairs. Drivers have the option to purchase additional first-party coverage which covers their own medical costs, property damage, or damage caused by an uninsured motorist, though these types of coverage are optional and may be waived.
Reasons to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Unfortunately, being covered and actually recovering your deserved compensation from an insurance company after an accident are two very different things. Insurance companies are primarily concerned with protecting their own bottom lines and will explore every possible avenue to deny or limit your compensation. Having a skilled attorney by your side can help protect you from unfair treatment and maximize your chances of securing a fair settlement.
A car accident attorney can bring a variety of benefits and services to your case, including:
- Collecting and analyzing evidence such as police reports, eyewitness testimony, vehicle damage, and video surveillance footage to determine the exact cause of your collision
- Offering a much-needed objective perspective during this emotional time
- Assistance getting the quality medical care you need to recover
- Communicating and negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf
- Intimate knowledge of the various laws that affect your case
- Trusted guidance to avoid potentially costly legal pitfalls
- A thorough understanding of your legal options and the most appropriate course of action
- Strong legal support in the event that litigation is needed to secure a fair financial award
Peoria Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What happens if I'm hit by an uninsured driver?
Not all drivers follow Illinois' auto insurance laws. If you were hit by someone without insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation for your medical bills under your own insurance policy's uninsured motorist (UM) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. While liability coverage pays others in the event of an accident you case, UM/UIM coverage pays you for your medical bills in the event that the other driver does not have insurance or enough coverage to fully pay for your losses.
If your damages exceed the limits of your UIM coverage, you may still be able to file a civil lawsuit against the uninsured driver in pursuit of compensation out of their personal assets and income. Unfortunately, since uninsured drivers tend to have little assets or income compared to insured drivers, it may be difficult to actually collect on any judgments you may be awarded in court. An attorney can help you understand your legal options and pursue the most appropriate course of action.
What is considered to be a severe injury?
If you were in a car accident and you sustained any of the following injuries, you may benefit from contacting a car accident attorney since it may be a severe injury:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
How long will my car accident claim take to resolve?
No two car accidents are alike, therefore the timeline of each car accident claim will be different than the next. Some cases can be completed from start to finish in as little as a few months while others can potentially take upwards of a year to be resolved. While it is nearly impossible to predict the exact length of your case, generally speaking, cases that involve more severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputation, and/or wrongful death tend to take longer to resolve than those involving comparatively minor injuries such as whiplash. Other factors which can play a direct role in the length of your case include the degree of cooperation of the involved insurance companies, the strength of the evidence supporting your claim, and whether or not your case goes to trial.
If I hire a car accident attorney, will I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Most car accident cases are resolved in the form of a settlement through out-of-court negotiations between your attorney and the at-fault driver's insurance company. With that being said, our firm is fully prepared to take your case to trial if we believe that the opposition is not offering you an amount that fully compensates you for your injuries.
What should I say to the insurance adjuster?
You can expect to be contacted by an insurance adjuster from the other driver's insurance company shortly after your collision.
When communicating with third-party insurance companies, be sure to do the following:
- Be calm and polite. Getting frustrated or angry will only serve to hurt you.
- Get the name and contact information of the person you speak to.
- Do not give any details about the accident other than the basic facts: where, when, what type of accident, the involved vehicles, and the identity of any witnesses.
- Never consent to a recorded statement. Instead, direct any communications to your attorney.
- Do not describe the nature or extent of your injuries, as there is a chance you may inadvertently leave something out or discover that your injuries are more severe than you initially thought. If you need to say something, tell them that you are unsure how severe your injuries are and that you are still being treated.
- Take notes of your conversation for future reference.
- Do not provide them with any medical records or authorize them to access your medical records. Your attorney will gather all of your medical records and provide them at the appropriate time.
The insurance company has already offered me a settlement. Should I accept it?
The insurance company may make you a settlement offer early on after your crash. While you may be tempted to accept it, it is important to know that the initial amount offered by the insurance company is often too low to fully compensate you for your injuries and is likely an attempt to quickly close your case. If you accept, you agree not to seek further compensation, even if you discover that your losses were far greater than you initially thought. You should always have a lawyer review any insurance offer before you accept it.
How long do I have to file a car accident claim?
Like any personal injury claim, car accident lawsuits in Illinois are subject to a legal deadline known as a "statute of limitations" which limits how long you have to seek legal action. The statute of limitations for car accident injury lawsuits in Illinois is two years from the date of the accident, while property damage claims have a longer deadline of five years.
Filing a claim after this statute of limitations has expired will typically result in your case being dismissed, thereby permanently preventing you from seeking compensation. It is important to speak with an attorney and commence legal action as soon as possible after a crash to ensure your compliance with all relevant legal deadlines.
How much is my car accident claim worth?
Every car accident is unique, therefore every car accident claim will have a different value. The amount of your potential recovery will vary depending on factors such as the type and extent of your injuries, the length of time that your injuries force you to miss work, the amount of damage to your vehicle, and the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver. An attorney can review the circumstances of your case and help you get a more accurate representation of your eligible compensation.
You may be able to secure compensation for the following damages:
- Present and future medical expenses
- Lost income and other earnings
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death (if a loved one was killed)
What happens if I'm partially at fault for my car accident?
When multiple parties carry partial blame for a collision, Illinois follows a "comparative fault" rule which divides compensation based on each driver's proportional level of fault. In other words, a plaintiff's eligible damages will be reduced by a percentage equal to their level of blame. For example, say you were injured in a crash caused by a driver that made a left turn into your vehicle's side, causing you to suffer $10,000 in damages. At trial, a jury finds that while the other driver is mostly at fault, because you were speeding, you are assigned 20% of the blame for the crash. In this situation, you would only be able to recover $8,000 in total damages (or $10,000 less 20%).
Insurance adjusters understand this law well and will often use this knowledge to pressure you into accepting a lower settlement than you deserve. Attorney Joel E. Brown can help you level the playing field and ensure you are treated fairly during all stages of your car accident claim. With more than 25 years of legal experience, our firm can help ensure your interests are protected and maximize your chances of securing the compensation you deserve.
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